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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My boys are driving me crazy and I frequently just want to hide away from them! They are 2 and 3 1/2. I yell too much, I put DS1 in time out but I am not consistant. I get frustrated so easily and feel alone in this since I don't have anyone IRL to talk to about this. Bah! I was hoping I could list a few examples of some situations that happen here to get some advice. So here it is....

1. DS1 constantly has to be in control of what DS2 is doing - how he plays, what he is playing with. He gets very angry and yells at DS2 if DS2 is playing somewhere else or with something else and he wants DS1 to play with him (usually with something specific). He also pushes, hits, and squeezes DS2 when DS2 doesn't want to play with him or how he wants him to play. DS1 also tells DS2 where to stand/sit when watching a movie, DS1 has to sit right next to DS2 at meals, etc. It is very concerning to me that DS1 seems to need to be in control of and have DS2 with him all the time. He is fine when DS2 is napping.

2. DS1 FREQUENTLY takes things from DS2 when DS2 is playing which causes DS2 to cry and now DS2 is starting to lash out by hitting which of course causes DS1 to hit back. When I see that DS1 is about to take something or has taken something from DS2 I tell him to either not take or to give it back by the count of 3 or he will go to time out and this has worked in the past.

3. I have a big problem with hitting, kicking, scratching, squeezing and grabbing. This is from DS1 to DS2 when DS2 does not do what DS1 wants, this is from DS1 to me as I escort him to timeout, this is from ds2 to me when he is angry, this is from DS2 to DS1 when they are arguing.

4. I don't know if this falls in this thread but I am perplexed about this and don't know if it is normal or not. DS1 likes to make a big pile of miscellaneous things which turns into a big mess. For example, one night I was cooking dinner and the boys sounded like they were playing together. What really happened was DS1 took everything (from toys, to magazines, books and the couch cushions, EVERYTHING) and piled a huge pile in the den. He makes piles of toys and everything he can get his hands on and puts it under the table. He takes all the toys in the playroom and puts it all into a big pile to include dumping puzzles and blocks and everything else that is in a box/basket. He does these things when I am preoccupied with something like a phone call, laundry, cleaning, etc. The mess is so overwhelming and he refuses to help clean it up. He doesn't understand that I don't want him to do this and he has some explanation (he was putting it in his house, he needed to protect himself from lions, he is trying to have a picnic with DS2, etc) as to why he did it.

5. DS1 has recently begun to scream at me when he is in disagreement with something.

Those are the main scenarios that are making me crazy and making me realize I have no idea what I am doing, making me want to go crawl under a rock and hide! They happen ALL. DAY. LONG.

How do I make my home a peaceful, enjoyable place for everyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to mention that sometimes when DS1 is really out of control I take him to his room with his best friend Sparky (stuffed puppy), give him so books and if he is up to it a long hug. I then tell him he is not in trouble but he needs to stay in his room for a little bit until he can calm down and not do whatever it was he was doing. This works but there have been a few times that he thought he was in trouble at bedtime telling me as I tucked him in that he won't push DS2 again in a teary voice I told him he wasn't in trouble that it was night time and time for bed. (He just started sleeping in his room this summer).
 

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I wrote a long post and then ended up deleting it because I was sure you'd get a lot better responses from others who are much more knowledgeable. I only have one child. But I can tell you what I've learned from my DD, and maybe some others will chime in.

My DD was also born 12-04.

Right now developmentally she is definitely all about control, while at the same time a growing awareness of just how big life is has lead to increased fears, which in turn make her want to control things even more. Also, at this age, she doesn't really have a concept of other people being truly individuals, with their own wants, fears, and feelings. So to your older son, his younger brother is kind of a play thing, sort of, with interesting buttons you can push to get all kinds of interesting reactions. Add to that some normal sibling jealousy and normal sibling rivalry, and with two so close in age its likely to be a screaming battleground much of the time. It will get better on its own if you can just hold out.

In the meantime, you might try giving him all kinds of opportunities for control that don't involve controlling his little brother. Maybe you can give each of them their own personal space in the common area (not the bedroom which probably feels like exclusion) and each has total control over that territory. When they fight and one is overpowering or about to hurt the other, make no judgements as to who is wrong but send them each to their territory, which is in your view.

At other times maybe you can bring your oldest along with you, giving him a task to do, whenever you need to not be physically present with the both of them. And giving him as many choices as possible (what to wear, what to eat, what plate/cup he wants, where to eat, what to watch, etc. Not completely free choices necessarily but choices from among things you are okay with).

I noticed from your description that you're good at telling him what not to do, but didn't see much focus on teaching him what to do instead of hitting or pushing when he is frustrated or upset. I don't use any sort of timeouts for DD, but it may be that your son needs that space and time to recollect himself. But removing him from the situation doesn't teach him how to handle the same situation next time. Sometimes you have to for safety but if you can sit with them, catch the growing frustration early, you might be able to coach him through the interaction before he gets too upset or aggressive. Teach trading for a toy that he wants that his brother has, teach taking turns, teach what to do when you can't have/do that. If you can figure out what he wants, you can try to teach him other ways to meet that need that don't hurt anyone. "You can't choose where little brother sits because that is HIS choice, but you can choose where your teddy bear is going to sit" or something similar.

It won't be easy because what is going on with his control of his little brother probably has more going on there than just a need to control - there might be ways he feels threatened in his relationship with you or his place in the family and his way of dealing with it is to try to control the threatening thing, which makes it less threatening. But eventually he will get it. Also trying to find some time where its just you and him one-on-one each day might help him know he is still very special to you.

The piling up thing sounds like he's angry when he doesn't have your attention, and he knows it will get your attention. Unless there are other indications of sensory issues I don't think its sensory or indicative of a diagnosable issue. Anyway he won't be able to give you a real reason why he does it because at that age he just doesn't know the real reason, and will make up something. I think the only thing you can do is either try to set him up with a special activity while you are having to cook dinner or whatever, or bring him with you and give him some task to do. If you're like me, making dinner is actually my break from my child after long hours of playing and dealing with emotions - it is so hard to include her. But its good for her and our relationship and it minimizes her getting into trouble because she is hungry, tired, and wants my attention at the time I am least able to give it.

I hope you get some more knowledgeable responses! Your post looked lonely
 

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Well, I don't have any advice or help on the matter, I'm trolling around here trying to find some help with my own first born
But I can tell you this: although my kids are different genders and a little further apart, we have the same issues in my house with my oldest being super controlling too and angry when my second doesn't 'listen' or follow through or 'wreck' things
. Its super hard mama, I hear you! It makes me crazy too. Sometimes I intervene, sometimes I hope they work it out, and sometimes I think I should read "Siblings without Rivalry" again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses. You have offered some great insights for me and some great suggestions that I am going to start implementing. I have two perfect places that I can transform into places for both the boys to go to when things start to get crazy - not as a time out but as a place to cool down and to spend time away from each other.

SJ
 

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I don't feel like I can offer much advice, because I haven't dealt with two kids so close in age. But the piling up thing sounds totally normal to me. My kids like to make piles of things, though not quite to the same extent - mostly just stuff like bed covers and pillows and clothes, to jump on. And the 2 1/2 yr old likes gathering up random stuff and putting it into a bag or other container. I think it's just fun to gather a bunch of stuff and pile it up. He's too young to see things from your point of view and understand how you feel about having to pick up a big mess, and he's too young to see why there's even any need to pick it up. A big mess is just a lot of fun at that age. He probably does it when you're not paying attention because that's when he can get away with it.
 
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